Reps query NNPC over N25b export fund

The House of Representatives has queried the failure of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to pay N25 billion into the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) accounts.

The House Committee on Public Procurement during the second day of its investigative hearing on the “Alleged Abuse, Breach and Violation of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 in the Engagement of Pre-shipment Inspection Agents (PIAs),” also frowned at the non-remittance of $20 million unspent fund to the Federation Account at the end of the 2016 financial year, by the NNPC.

Exporters of crude oil including the NNPC were required to pay a monitoring fee of 0.12 percent of the Free on Board (FoB) value of their exporter into the NESS account, domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and administered by the Federal Ministry of Finance in line with the provisions of the pre-shipment of imports Act, 1996.

According to documents submitted by the apex bank to the committee, NNPC which should have contributed to the NESS account was indebted to the tune of N25 billion.

But NNPC’s representative, Bello Rabiu, disagreed with the N25 billion indebtedness mentioned by CBN, saying, that the corporation was currently owing N23.42 billion.

A breakdown of the money paid by the corporation showed that out of of $163.750million budgeted between 2009 and 2015, it paid $154,737,612 million leaving the balance of $9,012,388 while NAPIMS was yet to disburse the $20 million for appropriated 2016 budget.

“Federal Government appropriated yearly for payments of the fee for FG equity for equity oil exports. NESS budget resides in NAPIMS and funded alongside JV cash calls releases. However, this process has been revised in the light of the new zero cash call regime. It is now a line item in the Federation budget.

“Since inception of the scheme in 2009 to December 2025, FG has appropriated a total of $163.75 million as NESS fee budget for FG equity oil exports. NAPIMS has disbursed a total of $154.74 million with a total budget balance of $9.012 million.

“Conversely, the most recent reconciliation conducted by the NESS Technical Committee puts NNPC’s total NESS fee obligations during the same period at about N48.5 billion leaving an indebtedness of about N23.42 billion since payment by NAPIMS is usually terminated upon exhaustion of the appropriated amount and upon successful completion of stakeholder’s reconciliation involving Budget Office, NNPC, PIAs, MEAs, CBN, FMF,” Rabiu said

Representative of CBN, Dauda Jubril, explained that the Pre-shipment Inspection Agents (PIAs) were appointed by the President based on the recommendation of Federal Ministry of Finance.

He added that CBN as part of the inter-agency technical committee pre-shipment scheme recommended an upward review of the tenure of the contracts of pre-shipment agents, stressing that the current regime of six months led to the agents providing services without an existing contract at different times.

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